Three Long-time Businesses that Helped Build the Downtown Community

Originally published on April 2, 2019 in The Downtowner newsletter.

Downtown Pittsburgh is a thriving community in today’s world, but something people may not realize is that the area houses businesses who have been here for over 40 years. These businesses saw potential in Downtown Pittsburgh as far back as 1870, and they continue to see that potential today.

For example, The Original Oyster House has been located at 20 Market Square since 1870. Owner Jennifer Grippo explained that they’ve stayed all these years because of the business’ historical significance. “I love having the business downtown because my family and I have gotten the ability to watch the city go through some amazing changes,” Grippo said.

Grippo also shared her love of the rich history and authenticity the restaurant has. “We’ve operated just about the same for 148 years, and although it is necessary to ‘keep up with the times’ we’ve never strayed away from serving up some of the freshest fish sandwiches and other seafood at an affordable price,” explained Grippo.

Just across the square, Nicholas Coffee & Tea Co. is celebrating its 100th birthday in downtown. They moved to their current location at 23 Market Square in 1957. Owner Jordan Nicholas shared the story of his great grandfather’s decision to build a business in downtown. “He was traveling to Chicago and stopped in Pittsburgh for a few days. He fell in love with the city and determined that he could sell coffee to his friends in the restaurant scene, as well as the general population of Pittsburgh,” said Nicholas.

Throughout the business’ three generations, Pittsburgh has grown and changed a lot, and Nicholas believes the downtown area continues to build itself up. “I can only see positive growth in the future and that comes from strong leadership at the top and a community that is dedicated to investing in the future of this city,” said Nicholas.

Just a few blocks away, Cardamone’s Salon has been at their location of 300 Forbes Avenue for close to 43 years now. “I always wanted to work with the office crowd and professional clientele, so Downtown Pittsburgh was a natural choice,” explained owner Joe Cardamone.

Cardamone discussed the changes he has seen happen in the area and where downtown could be headed in the future. “Cosmetically, downtown is a lot different than when we first established,” explained Cardamone, “because more businesses have moved in and more people are living downtown. I foresee that as the population of residents in the downtown area continues to increase the businesses and overall community will also continue to grow.”

These are just a few of the many long-time businesses in downtown that have spearheaded the creation of our community. Be sure to check in next week to learn more about the younger businesses in downtown and the reasoning behind their decisions to open up here.


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